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George H.W. Bush's letters offer a glimpse into his philosophy on life

George H.W. Bush's handwritten letters
The legacy of George H.W. Bush's handwritten letters 03:29

Though former President George H.W. Bush didn't write a memoir, many of his letters were assembled in his bestselling book "All The Best, George Bush." It lays out his humor, philosophy on life, and love for his family in thousands of personal notes.

In a note to his children in 1998, the father of six reflected on getting old writing, "Dear kids, this letter is about aging. Last year there was only a tiny sense of time left…I want to play golf with you and I want to fish or throw shoes and I want to rejoice in your victories. When I say 'be there' I mean in the game, in the line-up, viscerally involved in your lives even though I might be miles away."

He didn't save his words for just family and friends. He also shared them with rivals including former President Bill Clinton, who beat Bush in 1992.

"You will be our president when you read this note. I wish you well…Your success now is our country's success. I am rooting hard for you. Good luck."  

Lesley Stahl reflects on George H.W. Bush's "depth as a human being" 06:07

During his remarks Monday, Vice President Mike Pence shared a letter his son, a 1st lieutenant in the Marines, received from President Bush ahead of a ceremony aboard the USS George H.W. Bush. 

"Congratulations on receiving your wings of gold," he wrote. "Though we have not met, I share the pride your father has for you during this momentous occasion."

His most heartfelt letters though, were written to the love of his life, Barbara.

"I love you precious, with all my heart," he wrote. "To know you love me means my life. How often have I thought about the immeasurable joy that will be ours someday."

President Bush described the book that contains all of these letters as a "heartbeat" rather than a historical documentation of his life.

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